There has been a lot of fallout in the past 24 hours since we reported on ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe's embarrassing tweets yesterday where he sarcastically congratulated people who were happy about the news that Delaware had passed gay marriage and declared that he would shoot anyone who told his kids that it was OK.
Eventually Jay came to his senses and issued a poorly worded apology on his Twitter account:
"I feel very strongly about how and who should teach kids about certain things but I showed poor judgment by using that analogy and I’m sorry."
Those feelings are clearly his right and he should be allowed to voice them in a respectful manner. However, when threats of violence are uttered, then it crosses into the line of hate speech, which shouldn't be used on a forum used to promote his wrestling career.
Soon thereafter he deleted his whole account, probably due to complaints directed towards him that his apology didn't go far enough.
"Ring of Honor Wrestling respects and appreciates every fan regardless of age, gender, race, religion or sexual preference. The recent post by Jay Briscoe does not represent the views or opinions of Ring of Honor Wrestling, its owners, management or employees."
In the past hour, Ring Of Honor Wrestling have followed up by publishing the following statement about the incident on their Facebook page:
"Jay Briscoe would like to again express his sincerest apologies and regrets to all, especially his young fans, for his recent hateful twitter comment. Ring of Honor has insisted that Jay also make a public apology at the Ring of Honor event this Saturday night. Jay will address the public during the event.
In addition to this apology, Ring of Honor and Jay have agreed that he will donate his full pay from the next two Ring of Honor events to the Partners Against Hate charitable organization. Partners Against Hate was created to help prevent, deter, and reduce juvenile hate-related behavior.
For more information on PAH, visit http://www.partnersagainsthate.org/"
I think ROH deserves a lot of credit for realising the severity of Jay's comments and coming up with a punishment that will hopefully make him realise the ill effects that such hate language can have, whilst benefiting the victims of juvenile bullying that such words can encourage.
Thankfully, ROH learnt their lesson from failing to punish Briscoe for using a gay slur on his Twitter account two years ago. Arguably their prior inaction is as much to blame for the current controversy as Briscoe's outspoken nature.
Really, given the number of performers that have made homophobic remarks on social media and in public in recent years, every major wrestling company should come up with guidelines for appropriate use of language by their talent whilst working and how infringements will be punished. That would be an improvement on the ad hoc manner that such incidents are currently dealt with.
I know that runs contrary to the politically incorrect nature of pro wrestling in the past, but making sure that certain lines are never crossed would, in the long run, help the overall respectability of the business.